CHAP. LV THE MONGOL CATACLYSM 145
from this human avalanche of seven centuries ago ; and
until quite recently in some of the churches in Eastern
Europe the litany included, "From the fury of the
Mongols, good Lord, deliver us."
D'Ohsson summarizes the facts in the following
burning words :
Les conqu£tes des Mongols changerent la face d'Asie. De
grands empires s'ecroulent $ d'anciennes dynasties pdrissent; des
nations disparaissent, d'autres sont presque an&nties ; partout, sur
les traces des Mongols, on ne voit que ruines et ossements humains.
Surpassant en cruaut^ les peuples les plus barbares, ils £gorgent de
sangfroid, dans les pays conquis, hommes, femmes et enfants; ils
incendient les villes et les villages, ctetruisent les moissons, trans-
forment en d&erts des contr^es florissantes ; et cependant ils ne
sont aninies ni par haine ni par la vengeance $ a peine connaissent-ils
de nom les peuples qu'ils exterminent.
The Origin of the Mongols.—In Chapter XXIX. refer-
ence has been made to the Hiung-Nu or Huns who
fought with and drove westwards the Yue-chi about
200 B.C. ; it is believed by the best authorities that the
Mongols were descended from the Huns and that the
descendants of the Yue-chi were known as the Uighurs.
This is, however, ancient history and we may more
profitably turn to contemporary writers for an appreciation
of the new cc Scourge of God."
The Mongols, or as they were more generally termed
in Europe the Tartars,1 were divided by the Chinese
writers into three dasses, known respectively as the
White, Black, and Wild Tartars, whose civilization de-
creased with the remoteness of their habitat from the
humanizing influence of the sedentary population of
China. So far as history, as opposed to legend, is
concerned, the Mongols were one of the clans which
ranged the country to the north of the Gobi Desert
1 The correct form is Ta-ta. The sound, however, so closely resembled the
classical Tartarus that we find Matthew Paris, the Emperor Frederic II., Innocent IV.,
and St. Louis all playing on the word, the Emperor ending off his letter to Henry III.
of England with ad sua Tartara Tartan detrudentur. Consequently the form Tartar
was generally adopted. The Mongols themselves, who derive their name from mong
meaning " bold," averred that the Tartars were a tribe whom they had conquered, and
this view is adopted by D'Ohsson. The form " Moghul" has been applied to the
Mongols by Moslem writers and is frequently used, more especially with reference to the
great dynasty founded in India.
VOL. II L